Illinois man reunites family with old photos after he found them in thrift store
By Sara Smart, CNN
(CNN) -- What started as a visit to the local thrift store turned into a months-long reunion story for one Illinois man.
In June 2021, Greg Kozlick, 22, was looking for electronics at the local Goodwill store in Downers Grove, which is about 30 minutes west of Chicago.
As he was searching, he opened one box to find slides of about 80 old photos and a note inside that read "Sue's Wedding."
Looking at them through the light, he knew these were special. "Immediately my first thought was that I wanted to share them with the family, and reunite them with the memories." Kozlick told CNN.
He kept hold of the slides until he had the ability to view the photos properly. On January 4, he found a projector at another thrift store, which he used to view the photos on his bedroom wall.
Kozlick said he took photos of the vintage images and posted them to a few Facebook community groups, with hopes to find the owner.
Within 30 minutes, he received comments of people recognizing the church and tagging family members of the people in the photos.
That's when he came across Sue Brose, the bride in the wedding photos.
He recognized the last name and realized her granddaughter, Autumn Brose, was a former high school classmate. She helped put him in contact with Sue.
On January 6, he presented Brose with the slides. "I'm a photographer, so I capture these moments all the time, so I knew they were something special." Kozlick said.
Sue was surprised to hear the photos had been found.
"My photos from those days are very faded, 52 years later, so it's really special." Brose told CNN. "Now I'm going to be able to print up some fresh ones with better color."
Brose was met with images from her high school graduation in 1968, to the day she walked down the aisle in December 1969.
"I'm very sentimental like her," Autumn told CNN, "When I saw her get the pictures, I started to get tears in my eyes."
Brose's mother passed away in March 2021, so her best guess is someone accidentally donated the box of slides when cleaning out her mother's house.
The photos also connect Brose to her father, who passed away 11 years ago. Her dad took most of the photos himself.
"It was very emotional just for me, I choke up just telling the story," Kozlick added, "To give them back to the person they belong to and because they were taken by her late father, she now has a piece of him."
Brose shared that the past few months have been rough, as she has been hospitalized twice, and it was a great way to start the new year. "To start fresh with great memories, what better gift!" Brose said.
And Autumn was just as excited to be reunited with the photos. "I was super close with my great grandpa and have memories of looking at his old photos with him." Autumn said. "This is amazing to have back in the family!"
Kozlick has since sent the slides to get digitized, so Brose will be able to keep them even more safe.
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